My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Earlier today, I was able to listen to Hyperion’s new Nottingham Analogue turntable. I grabbed some of my reference materials to see how good they will sound with Hyperion’s setup.
I have with me Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits, Charlene’s I’ve Never Been To Me, Information Society’s self-titled album, Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust, Cal Tjader Hurrácan, and This is Twisted World - a dance album.
Upon arrival, we immediately listened to the first cut in the Hurrácan album. I have listened to this album on another system quite similar to Hyperion’s. That system also has Electa Amator II and a 6550-based Trilogy power amplifier with Audible Illusions pre-amplifier/phono stage and Michelle Gyro with Clearaudio Aurum Beta Wood. It will be unfair if I make a direct comparison between the two as the only thing they share in common is the speaker and the type of amplification, but all I can say is that they both sound great. The Nottingham has open, big presentation of the music. Instrument separation is excellent and the imaging is pin-point.
If there is anything that is obvious to me this early, it is the fact that this turntable has 100% enjoyment factor. It has excellent PRAT to these ears, and easily conveys the dynamics of the material. The Beds are Burning cut from Midnight Oil will make you head-bang with delight – it’s got the beat. As a fan of the sport, I would like to make an “analog analogy” to F1 cars. They pickup speed in the straight so fast, and can brake near corners just as fast with precision. Likewise, the Nottingham picks up speed really fast and can mellow down just as fast. It was very musical to me, never a bit boring even as the cut Put Down That Weapon, from the same artist, is like the Monaco race track.
Jimi Hendrix, ah yes, anybody who likes his music will know from the guitar riffs that it is uniquely Hendrix. But one thing that is quite bothersome is that on the wrong format, he he, his music can make ears bleed I was and still is a fan of the man, and bought one of the first Hendrix CD a long time ago. Took me one listen and dumped it, as it sounds thin, ear bleeding steely, seems something is very wrong. So when this vinyl was put on sale, I grabbed it. The Nottingham plays the Hendrix sound in a superb way. It does not lose the signature guitar sound, but at the same time, there is body, yep, a whole lotta body in the entire material. The grunty guitar, the tight bass, the weird Hendrix voice, the wah-wah, it’s all there – captured and played to my satisfaction. Juts na lang ang kulang
My favorite cut from Information Society, Repetition, brings back a lot of memories. The synthesized bass of this track is something I’d really like to hear from the Nottingham. The tight, mid-bass, with that “sad, and lonely” beat (see, I said it brings a lot of memories, ha ha) was very authoritatively reproduced by the Nottingham. And I’d like to add that during this entire session, we never used a sub-woofer. In all honesty to moi, this setup does not need a sub-woofer. I think the owner will agree We also played the entire Side A of the vinyl, This Is Twisted World, which is a dance track. Waddya know… the Nottingham can double as a Technics! The music was so authentically reproduced, with all the ambiance of a discotechque – open, full-bodied, big sound, all we need is a mirror ball, some drinks (and girls, he he). More points for the Nottingham for the “fun” factor.
If there is a negative point in the system (I’m not singling out the Nottingham as I’m a believer of “matching”) it was heard on one of my favorite vocal track, I’ve Never Been To Me, by Charlene. I’m sure you’ve heard this song a gazillion times on radio, but you ain’t heard nothing yet until you hear it on vinyl. Well, it was not as smooth and refined as I hear it on my system and fingers are pointing to the PAS3 pre-amp.
We capped the audition by playing Hyperion’s newly acquired 180G Simply Vinyl issue of Dire Straits, with which I decided to leave – with a goal. And that is how I can come close to what I’ve heard if I’m using a puny little less-than-2-watt-per-channel tube amplification. Oh yes, my Infinity Kappa is complaining how come the amplification is getting less and less watts.
For more information about the Nottingham Analogue turntable, call or visit Architectural Audio.
Thank you to Hyperion for allowing me to enjoy his system.